Tag Archives: Freegift Stout

Mary Higgins: Adding Names to My Family Tree

Mary Higgins (B. 1699-D. AFTER April 1715)

I am pausing in my pursuit of the Stout family to take a look at my 6th great grandmother, Mary Higgins, wife of Freegift Stout. Interestingly, this research also allows me to add to my tree 7th and 8th great-grandparents named Higgins, and 8th great-grandparents named Newbold.

Richard Higgins, Pioneer, Grandfather of Mary Higgins


Like the pioneer settler of the Stout Family, the first comer in the Higgins family had the first name Richard. Richard HIggins arrived in 1632 in Plymouth Colony. Richard Stout arrived about 1643 in New Amsterdam (New York). Both Richards, as we will see, quickly took leadership roles, as they moved to new communities, seeking religious freedom and room to grow their farms in order to support large families. The grandchildren of these two men, Freegift Stout and Mary Higgins, married in New Jersey. (8th Great Grandparents: Richard Stout and Penelope Van Princis; AND Richard Higgins and Mary ___(widow of Yates).)

Richard Higgins, taylor (tailor) first settled in Plymouth Massachusetts, but later moved briefly to Barnstable, presumably as a step on his way to New Jersey. He had arrived in 1632, one of the hundreds of religious dissenters who left England and joined the Pilgrims in Plymouth Colony during the 1630s. He soon married–in 1634 marrying Lydia Chandler (about whom we know little).

I read the main source on the Higgins family, Richard Higgins : A Resident and Pioneer Settler at Plymouth and Eastham, Massachusetts and at Piscatawnay, New Jersey and His Descendants on line (see Notes on Sources below). Author Katherine Higgins carefully documents all the information.


About 1645, Richard Higgins left Plymouth with several other men and their families and settled in Nauset, later to be called Eastham.

The location of Eastham today. Note Nauset Beach, south of Eastham, still bearing the original name of the town. Google Maps.

By the summer of 1651, Lydia had died. Richard and Lydia had two sons: Jonathan and Benjamin.

In June 1651, Richard married a widow, Mary, whose husband, John Yates, had died in 1650. The only name we have for her is that of her late husband. The marriage records appear in the books for Orleans Massachusetts. The book on Richard describes Orleans, a Cape Cod village, as part of the town of Eastham. Mary brought a son, John Yates, to the marriage.

Mary and Richard Higgins had ten children to add to the three they brought from their earlier marriages.

Meanwhile, records show Richard Higgins traveled from Eastham, probably by boat, to the court in Plymouth 1653, 1654, 1655, 1657, 1658, 1660, 1665. He served as a member of a committee representing Eastham, not yet independent and later when it was recognized as a separate entity, as a delegate.

Richard Higgins apparently impressed community leaders as a successful tailor because among the responsibilities the town gave him–juror, road surveyor, legislator–the town leaders gave him the responsibility for a young boy, a ward of the town, as his apprentice. He actively bought and sold land and that indicates he farmed as well as working as a tailor, but about 1669 he started selling and giving to his older two sons land that he had accumulated. This action in preparation for his move to Barnstable and to Piscataway. In the New Jersey town, he once again assumed many leadership roles.


The town of Pisctaway, New Jersey today. Google Maps.

We can calculate the rough date of his death by land records: his last recorded transaction dated June 1, 1675, and one in 1677, referring to his wife Mary as a widow. He had accumulated in Eastham. That land totaled 254 acres by the time of his death–his legacy to his wife and children.

Jediah Higgins, Father of Mary Higgins

Next we come to the oldest child of Mary and Richard Higgins, Jediah Higgins, my 7th great-grandfather.

Jediah, a shoemaker by trade, took a leadership role in the community. He owned 500 acres in New Jersey, a considerable land holding–double what his father had owned. Like his father, he combined his trade with farming and civic/political duties. He served two terms (at least) in the General Assembly of New Jersey, and on numerous juries and committees. The main source on the Higgins family, Katherine Higgins’ book, credits Jediah with being more prominent than any of his siblings.

Jediah’s wife Mary Newbold came from Eckington in County York in England with her parents some time before 1684, the year she married Jediah Higgins at the age of 23. The Newbolds settled in Burlington County, New Jersey. [7th Great-Grandparents: Mary Newbold and Jediah HIggins. 8th Great-Grandparents: Ann (unknown maiden name) and Michael Newbold.]

Mary Higgins Stout

Jediah and Mary’s daughter Mary Higgins, would have been born in New Jersey in 1699. Mary Higgins father, Jediah Higgins, had been born in Eastham, Massachusetts. At the age of twelve, he moved with his parents and siblings to Piscataway New Jersey. Jediah was the oldest of the children of Jediah and his second wife, Mary. This caused some confusion about Mary’s place of birth. When I began my research, her memorial at Find a Grave.com said that she was born in Eastham, Massachusetts instead of New Jersey, her actual birthplace. It could have been either in Piscataway Township, or in Somerset County near Kingston.

Another daughter named Mary had died as a young child. There were two or possibly three girls still living when Mary joined the family and four or possibly five boys. She had one younger brother, born two years after she arrived. Two of her siblings in addition to the first Mary died young (date not known), so she grew up in a family of seven children (out of the ten born).

Mary’s father, Jediah, died in April 1715 and left her 50 pounds to be given to her when she reached 18 years old or married.

When Mary married Freegift Stout (date undiscovered, but circa 1719) they settled in Clover Hill, as we have seen when I wrote about Freegift. Although I know that Freegift and Mary had ten children, I have not found dates for most of those children. I do know that they all lived to adulthood, because there are records of their marriages. That made Freegift and Mary Higgins Stout extremely fortunate parents in an age when people actually expected to lose some of their children in infancy or early childhood.

Although it is difficult to put together a detailed timeline for Mary’s life, she obviously had a busy homelife. Her husband, Freegift, does not show up in books about the area where they lived, as his father’s had, so their life might have been somewhat quieter than that of Jediah and Mary Higgins.

Her six-years-older husband wrote his will in 1763 and died in 1769, at the age of 76 . His will gave the plantation where he lived with some exceptions to his son Isaac Stout (my 5th great grandfather) . Freegift’s wife Mary received all household goods and the will instructed Isaac to give his mother 10 pounds per year.

Mary Higgins Stout’s Will

Perhaps nudged by her husband’s death, Mary wrote her own will in 1770. Some of their children had died by the time she wrote her will, and she named her three surviving daughters, Mary, who now lived in Virginia, and Rebecca and Rachel, as her heirs. Mary seems to have no land of her own. So her heritage for her daughters consisted of household goods and personal belongings. The key part of her will follows:

 First I will that all my Debts and Funeral Charges be paid and discharged by my Executors herein named. Also I give and bequeath unto my — beloved Daughters, Namely Mary the wife of Richard Chamberlain of the collony of Virginia and Rebecca the wife of Edward Taylor & Rachel the wife of Richard Rounsavell — of the Township of Amwell aforesaid their heirs and assigns forever all my whole Estate whatsoever or wheresoever found that shall or may remain after the payment of my Debts &c. as aforesaid to be Equally Divided among them share and share alike And whereas my before mentioned Daughter Mary and her Husband living at a Considerable Distance, I commend unto them or whom it may concern; my well beloved son Freegift Stout to be Trustee for my said Daughter Mary or her Heirs And I do hereby Constitute and appoint my Trusty Friend and well beloved son-in-law Edward Taylor, Sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament and I do hereby disallow, Revoke and Disannul all and every other former Testaments Wills Legacys and Executors by me in any ways before this time Named Willed and bequeathed Ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last Will and Testament In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this Twenty Ninth Day of September in the year of our Lord one Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy: 1770 Mary Stout (mark) Signed, Sealed, Published, Pronounced & declared by the said Mary Stout as her last Will & testament In the Presence of us the Subscribers (Viz.) Benjamin Stout Isaac Stout Mary Stout .

Mary died soon before 19 April 1773 (the date of the appraisal of her goods).

The family buried her at the Stout-Manners cemetery in Ringoes, New Jersey. Freegift’s father, David Stout, one of the first settlers in this area, gave some land from his farm for a graveyard. The Stouts and family of another early settler, John Manners had many intermarriages, and so the graveyard became the Stout-Manners cemetery. [David Stout: 7th Great Grandfather]


Pursuing the story of Mary Higgins Stout has added two more surnames to my family tree and 7th and 8th great-grandparents with the name Higgins and Newbold. I have now traced both the Stout family and the Higgins family back to the 8th great-grandfather, both named Richard, the first of their families to arrive in North America. Also, I discovered the Newbold 8th great-grandfather, Michael Newbold and his wife Ann, who were also first arrivals.

I will go back to talk about one of Freegift and Mary’s children, Obadiah, and then move backward in time Freegift’s father, my 7th great-grandfather, David Stout. (Reserving the right to tell the stories of great-uncles and aunts or cousins as I go back through the Stout line. You know I never can resist a good story. )

To wrap up the Stout family, you will learn the incredible stories of Richard Stout, pioneer of the Stout family, and his wife, my 8th great-grandparents in the Stout line. And somewhere in there, perhaps I will shed light on why my great-great grandfather Isaiah Stout decided to settle in Guernsey County, Ohio at the age of 17.


  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, who is the daughter of
  • Vera Stout Anderson, who is the daughter of
  • William Cochran (Doc) Stout, who is the son of
  • Isaiah Stout (1822), who is the son of
  • Isaac Stout (1800), who is the son of
  • Isaiah Stout (1773) who is the son of
  • Isaac Stout (1740) who is the son of
  • Mary Higgins Stout and Freegift Stout
  • Mary Higgins Stout is the daughter of Jediah (and Mary Newbold Higgins) who is the son of
  • Richard Higgins , first comer to North America in the Higgins line, and his wife.
  • Mary Newbold Higgins is the daughter of Michael and Ann Newbold.

Notes on Research

Richard Higgins : a resident and pioneer settler at Plymouth and Eastham, Massachusetts, and at Piscataway, New Jersey, and his descendants, Katharine Elizabeth Chapin HIggins ; 1918; Worchester, MA: K. C. HIggins Available free at archive.org in digital format.

New Jersey, Abstract of Wills, 1670-1817, accessed at Ancestry.com

Will of Mary Higgins Stout, transcript originally posted at Ancestry.com by user beanpod113. Posted in the gallery of my tree on Ancestry.com

U. S. and International Marriage Records (1560-1900), 2004, Yates Publishing, accessed at ancestry.com “Mary Higgins, female, b. 1699 Freegift Stout, b. 1693” Note: Original documents or listing in the town where they married would be preferable to this index but so far I have found only this index.

Find a Grave, Mary Stout. Note: I pointed out in the text, errors in the information at this site, but the information has since been corrected

Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, Roxbury, 1630-1867 , Birth of Jediah Higgins at Orleans, MA; Jay Mack Holbrook, Holbrook Institute, Oxford MA :1985, Accessed at Ancestry.com

New Jersey, Abstract of Wills, 1670-1817, Jediah Higgins, 23 April 1715, Ancestry.com

New Jersey, Marriage Records, 1683-1802 ,Jediah Higgins and Mary Newbold, Ancestry.com 2011

Find A Grave, Jediah Higgins, Memorial # 85788158. Note: This Find a Grave entry has extensive information drawn from the book about Richard Higgins and numerous citations of fact.

Find a Grave, Mary Newbold Higgins, Memorial #89040425

Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, Roxbury, 1630-1867 , Richard Higgins and Mary Gates (sic) Jay Mack Holbrook, Holbrook Institute, Oxford MA: 1985; Accessed at Ancestry.com

The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1635, Vol II (1995) Robert Charles Anderson, pgs 928-932. The combination of The Great Migration and The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1635, is on ancestry.com, but no free digital copies exist, and print versions cost from $40 per volume. The information contained here exist in Katherine Higgins biography of Richard HIggins.

U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700, Genealogical Publishing Co.; Baltimore, MD, USA; Volume Title: Third Supplement to Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700 . Accessed at ancestry.com

Find a Grave, Richard Higgins, Memorial #7864412


Freegift Stout and His Children: Generation 3 and 4

Freegift Stout (1693-1769), Generation Three

Other Freegift Stout offspring obviously were named for this one, but the name does not show up frequently. Where did his name come from? There must be a meaning for the name Freegift. I’m guessing religious roots. (Most obviously, “Gift of God.”) However, Mr. Google is failing me on this one. Have you heard the name before? Do you know what it means?

Freegift Stout, my 6th Great Grandfather was the father of my direct ancestor Isaac Stout (1740) along with a large number of other children.

What I know of Freegift leads to the conclusion that he led a quiet life as a successful farmer in New Jersey. As documented in his will, he acquired a widespread holding of lands in New Jersey. He did not wander, although one of his sons settled very early along the Ohio River and grandsons and great-grandsons of Freegift scattered across the land, creating new communities everywhere they went. For a summary of what we know so far, see my story about Isaac Stout (1740)

Freegift was the eldest son in the family of David Stout and Rebecca Ashton Stout, born in the area they called Clover Hill in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. He had two older sisters. At the age of twenty-one, Freegift moved along with his father and mother and the rest of the family to the rich farmland of nearby Amwell. Wikipedia describes Clover Hill: “Clover Hill, named for Peter C. Clover, was previously called Koughstown (pronounced kuestown) after Casparus Kough, Jr. and was located on Amwell Road and Clover Hill Road. The village was home to a tavern, store, church, hotel, blacksmith, post office and eight or nine houses. ” See more about Amwell Valley at Wikipedia, where I found this topographic map. Sources describe the valley as rich agricultural land.

Location of the Amwell Valley where David Stout settled and Freegift Stout spent his life.

Freegift Stout and his Family, Generation Four

In 1720, Freegift married Mary Higgins (1699-1773), daughter of Jediah and Mary Higgins. Mary Higgins and her family probably deserve a separate analysis. Most Ancestry trees, based on Find a Grave, say Mary was born in Eastham, Massachusetts. I was scratching my head trying to figure out how Freegift (New Jersey) met Mary (Massachusetts). It turns out that Find a Grave made a mistake. Mary’s father, Jedidiah Higgins moved with his family to Piscataway, New Jersey from Massachusetts, where her grandfather Richard Higgins had emigrated in the early 1600s. Her mother, Mary Newbold came with her family from England and also lived in New Jersey. So Mary was born in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Freegift and Mary lived in Clover Hill the rest of their lives, raising crops and a very large family. Pinning down those family members presented a real challenge. Freegift’s will, written 9 June, 1763, gives the best evidence for names of children, but of course that does not include dates of birth and death. Fortunately, in this case, the women’s husbands are listed, but we have to go elsewhere to find out who the Stout men married.


I have not found any birth records for any of this family. I compared sources, to see which might be the most authoritative. There are endless books on the Stouts and on the places they lived. Here are the major ones I looked at:

The History of the Stout Family: First Settling in Middleton and Somerset Counties, State of New Jersey, by Nathan Stout (1823)

Historical and Genealogical Miscellany: Data Relating to the Settlement and Settlers of New York and New Jersey, Vol. I/II and Vol. IV, by John Stillwell, M. D. Vol 1/II (1904) Vol. IV (1916)

Two books by Herald F. Stout, USN. Staudt-Stoudt-Stout Families of Ohio and Their Ancestors at Home and Abroad (1935) and Stout and Allied Families Vol. 1 (1951)

Since Nathan Stout’s book was the earliest, naturally he became a main source for the other two authors. Comparing lineage lists from the four sources backs that up. Although I assume the information in the book came from family records with limited research, he does not specify, so the foundational information on the Stout line is suspect. I found the most thoroughly researched and documented information in Historical and Genealogical Miscellany. Bless his heart, Dr. Stillwell explains everything in great detail and includes in his book things like lists of cattle brands and marriage licenses, etc. to back up.

Generation Four

Jedidiah Stout , ??-1782(?) Named for maternal grandfather. Married Phillena Chamberlain Daughter Rebecca born before June 1763; Ann, born before 18 May 1766.

Rebecca Stout (Taylor) Married Edward Taylor

Freegift Stout, Jr., 1724-1798 Married Elizabeth Stout , a second cousin.

Mary Stout B. Circa 1726 Married Richard Chamberlain, brother of Jedidiah’s wife Phillena.

Rachel Stout ??-After January 1777 Married Richard Rounsaville

Joshua Stout ?? – 1806

Obadiah Stout 1735-1830. Married Mary McBride

*Isaac Stout 1740-1823 born and died in Clover Hill New Jersey. Married Mary Quimby.

James Stout, married Mary Mattison and had one son, Samuel. Wife died in 1764. Married second Rachel Higgins (d. 1782) in 1765, and had a family.

Sarah Stout (Oliphant) ??- Bef. 1768.

*My 5th great grandfather

Freegift Stout and all of his offspring except one were born and died in New Jersey. These children of Freegift lived through power struggles between the Dutch and the English in New Jersey, the Revolutionary War, and the aftermath of economic problems. Obadiah, born in 1735, fought in the Army and took the land grant to which that entitled him and went West.

Obadiah, the 2x great uncle of my great-grandfather Isaiah was one of the first, if not the first of Isaiah’s Stout uncles and cousins to land in Ohio. Am I getting closer to finding out why my great-great Grandfather settled in Guernsey County, Ohio?

To review, The generations are (1) Richard, (2) David, (3) Freegift, (4) my ancestor Isaac and his brother Obadiah (5) Isaac’s children including my ancestor Isaiah and his brothers Josiah and Aaron, (6) Josiah’s and Aaron’s children.

I last wrote about Josiah and then about Aaron and Aaron’s children, most of whom were restless travelers. Now, having introduced Freegift, I will move back one generation to the children of Freegift–Generation Three. Next I will talk about Obadiah who spawned a family of settlers in the Northwest Territory and beyond.

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll come along for the ride as more and more Stouts leave New Jersey and head West.


  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, who is the daughter of
  • Vera Stout Anderson, who is the daughter of
  • William Cochran (Doc) Stout, who is the son of
  • Isaiah Stout (1822), who is the son of
  • Isaac Stout (1800), who is the son of
  • Isaiah Stout (1773) who is the son of
  • Isaac Stout (1740) who is the son of
  • Freegift Stout


A partial genealogy of the DeWitt, Boss, Chamberlain, Cromwell, D’Arcy, Cockey and allied families , Albert Lilborn DeWitt , 1956 Accessed at Ancestry.com

New Jersey, Abstract of Wills, 1670-1817, Ancestry.com, 2011

New Jersey, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1643-1890 , Ancestry.com 1999

FindaGrave.com, Freegift Stout, Sr. # 7350252